Dealing with Stinking Thinking

Posted on 04. Mar, 2015 by in Blog

“Hey you, you’re caught up in stinking thinking!” This was a direct message from my inner (Holy) Spirit to my self-absorbed ego. I had spent several hours late into the night trying to fix a computer problem, getting nowhere. I kept mumbling to myself, “I am a bright person. I ought to be able to fix this. I shouldn’t bother anyone else.” I kept thinking this over and over for almost 2 hours. I finally went to bed. The next morning, our Heart to Heart Communications Executive Assistant, Sarah, a 30-something young adult, volunteered to take a look at it. She fixed the problem in 10 minutes. I realized then that, knowing Sarah was good at this, I should have ignored my ego the night before with its “stinking thinking” which was insisting “You must be able to do this yourself.”

Do you ever find your energy drained not only because of a difficult situation but because you ruminate over and over and let your thoughts drag you down? Do you spend more time being upset about situations you cannot change than you do focusing on circumstances you can positively influence? Do you try to do too much on your own for whatever the reason? Are you aware when “stinking thinking” creeps into your own life? What helps me now is to alert my brain – “Hey you, you’re caught up in stinking thinking.” Focus upon what’s good in your day – take time to appreciate it. Let go of giving attention to things you cannot do anything about. View problems as possibilities for insight, growth, and a way of bringing people together to seek solutions.

As a priest, people often ask me how they can develop a more serene, spiritually-centered life. Ways that immediately emerge:

  • take a break
  • meditate
  • go on a retreat
  • join others in worship
  • read scripture or other spiritual writings
  • experience nature
  • slow down

On a daily basis debrief yourself, looking back over your day to appreciate what is positive and to reflect upon ways you can further develop.

Consider viewing your work, whatever productive activity you do, as fertile soil for your spiritual growth. If you are sorting out how to deal in a caring way with a difficult person on the job, trying to work with integrity, doing your part to foster a respectful work environment, helping coworkers to be and do their best – these are opportunities for your own ongoing conversion toward becoming the spiritually-centered, caring human being God has created you to be.

Ponder this:

  • What am I currently thinking and doing which foster positive attitudes and actions within myself and others? What helps me to do that?
  •  In what ways can I tap into my inner (spiritual) center to be more appreciative and resilient and to do my part in making a better work and home environment?
  • If I were to be more consistently positive and proactive in dealing with workplace concerns, what would be the benefit for me and for others in my daily work?

written by Fr. Norm Douglas


2 Responses to “Dealing with Stinking Thinking”

  1. Sue Kramer 23 March 2015 at 9:03 am #

    Father – This is exactly what I needed to read today. There is a lot of good advice and wisdom in this, and I am going to hold onto it for those days when I am out of patience and not sure what God wants from me. Thank you for always being so good to us at St. B.

  2. Ed Heben 23 June 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    Terrific and right on. Very helpful to me today.

Leave a Reply